Beacon Hill Update from Mass Access – June 29, 2020June 29, 2020
Monday, June 29, 2020
As of Sunday night, DPH reported a total of 108,667 cases of COVID-19.
The state has now confirmed a total of 8,060 deaths from the virus.
Governor Baker is waiting to get another week’s worth of data to see what, if any, effect the resumption of indoor dining has on public health metrics associated with the virus before deciding if the third wave of reopenings will begin July 6.
On Friday, he said the experiences of other states highlight the importance of phasing in the state’s reopening.
Phase 3 of the state’s reopening will see the return of gyms, sporting events, casinos, museums, and movie theaters.
The earliest possible date it could begin is Monday, July 6, but Baker has said that his decisions will be driven by data and not dates.
Governor Baker on Friday signed an interim budget to keep state government running when the new fiscal year begins on July 1 since the Legislature has not yet developed a fiscal 2021 spending plan.
The governor filed the $5.25 billion interim budget a week ago and said Friday that the amount is sufficient to fund government operations through July.
House and Senate leaders have not laid out a timeline yet for completion of a budget for the full fiscal year.
With just a few days until the new budget year begins, the Baker administration this week told municipalities that upcoming monthly local aid payments will largely be based on fiscal year 2020 estimates.
The planned implementation of a new school funding law in the new fiscal year is on hold, at least for the time being.
Governor Baker introduced a series of proposed changes and adding millions of dollars to a jobs bill he filed in early March.
At a press conference Friday morning, Baker, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy announced that the administration was now proposing a $275 million COVID-19 recovery package as an update to the $240 million bill offered before the pandemic.
The governor said the updated version targets investments towards three main buckets: housing, community development, and business competitiveness as a response to the dramatically different economic situation created by the pandemic.
Both the House and Senate have informal sessions scheduled for Monday at 11am.
The House plans to meet in a full formal session on Tuesday with roll calls at 1 p.m. Representatives have been advised to prepare for an enactment roll call vote on H 4803 directing Chapter 90 funds to – The Senate plans to take up the COVID-19 supplemental budget and a $1.7 billion information technology bond bill on Thursday.
House Speaker Bob DeLeo said last week that he will recommend to the full House this week that lawmakers create a special legislative oversight committee to conduct its own investigation into the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home tragedy.
Speaker DeLeo’s embrace of a special legislative oversight committee likely means that legislative reforms to the oversight of the Holyoke veterans home may have to wait until next session.
Attorney General Maura Healey and U.S. Attorney Mark Lelling are each also looking into the Holyoke tragedy.
On Monday, Senate President Spilka and Sens. Friedman, Comerford and Hinds host a live-streamed listening session to hear from policy experts, providers, Baker administration officials and others about the state of the health care system as the state seeks to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Supporters of the three remaining initiative petitions aiming to change state laws through ballot questions must file at least 13,347 valid signatures with Secretary of State William Galvin’s office.
The campaigns had to submit signatures for certification with local election officials earlier this month, and filing with Galvin’s office is the final step ahead of making the Nov. 3 ballot.
Proposed law changes would implement ranked-choice voting in Massachusetts, expand access to automobile telematic data, and increase funding to nursing homes.
The proposed ballot question to allow more stores to sell beer and wine withdrew on Friday evening.
ts backers will instead work to put the question before voters in 2022.
Cumberland Farms, said Friday evening that it is dropping its effort due to the COVID-19 pandemic’s impacts on the retail sector and the company’s corresponding need to focus more on the health and safety of its workers and customers.
A Republican challenger to Congressman Bill Keating and a candidate for the state House of Representatives must be removed from contention after the State Ballot Law Commission ruled Friday that they did not properly follow the electronic signature-gathering process laid out by the courts.
The commission ordered Secretary of State William Galvin not to print the name of Republican Helen Brady on the ballot as a candidate for the 9th Congressional District seat, and it also ruled that David French in the 12th Bristol District House race and Nicholas Torresi in the Governor’s Council 5th District race should not appear on the ballot.
After conducting a hearing two weeks ago, the commission determined that the third-party contractor Brady’s campaign used to collect signatures stored voters’ signatures separately and then imported them onto blank nomination papers.